Chillin' Wit' Susanne LaFrankie Principato
THE CLOCK is ticking on Susanne LaFrankie Principato's hectic Sunday and she's elbow-deep in a mixing bowl, working bread crumbs into her meatballs.
Sinatra's "Come Fly with Me" is on the radio in the kitchen of her well-kept Haddonfield colonial, and the former 6ABC reporter says she still must drive about 90 miles to Bethlehem for a combined communion-and-confirmation party.
"They're going into the Crock-Pot after I cook them," she says of the meatballs, moving quickly around the kitchen.
LaFrankie, born in Pittsburgh, left "Action News" 15 years ago to be at home with her children, Robert, now 19, Victoria, 18, and Michael, 15.
Staying at home hasn't meant retirement, though, and she says she's doing consulting work, teaching communications at Wharton and La Salle and helping nonprofits get more exposure. She even traveled to Havana, Cuba, recently with her older son.
With the prospect of an empty nest looming, she says, she plans to make herself even busier.
"I don't think I could ever really retire," she says, dropping the meatballs into a pan of olive oil.
LaFrankie says one of her most difficult assignments was covering the collision of a helicopter and an airplane over a Lower Merion elementary school that killed U.S. Sen. John Heinz, four pilots and two first-graders.
"Sure, there are some times I miss the job, but then I see reporters covering snowstorms and I think, 'No way,' " she says.
Eventually the meatballs on the stove begin to attract attention, and her husband, Bob, a radiologist, and daughter, Victoria, enter the kitchen.
"She listens to Sinatra now, too," LaFrankie says of her daughter, a Merion Mercy Academy student.
"Yeah, I don't have a choice," Victoria shoots back, with a smile.
- Jason Nark
On Twitter: @JasonNark
Chillin' Wit' is a regular Monday feature of the Daily News that spotlights a name in the news away from the job.